I vs. Me: Being Self Centered Can Be Good

I vs. me

We all know there is a difference between I and me. Simply put, “I” is a subject, “me” is an object. Generally speaking, there aren’t any issues when you’re only referring to yourself.

The confusion starts when your first person character is joined by third person companions.

Relative Pronouns: How Not to Ruin a Sentence

relative pronouns

Oh, relative pronouns. You crazy, crazy kids. You can cause so much frustration with your misplaced thats, whos, and whichs. Let’s have a chat and sort you all out, shall we?

Let’s say you’re telling a story about Weston, a neurologist with a bionic elbow. When do you use which relative pronoun?

Lay vs. Lie

lay vs lie

We’re tackling one of the less obvious grammatical foibles today. Did you know that there is a difference between lay and lie? Because there is! Let’s explore.

Other than the definition of “to tell an untruth,” lay and lie are often used interchangeably. But lay is a transitive verb, meaning it requires a subject and one or more objects. Lie, on the other hand, is an intransitive verb, which means that it doesn’t need an object.

So if you wanted to say that you (the subject) lay on the floor (the object) in the fetal position all day yesterday, that’s correct. If you said that you lay in said position all day regularly, that would be wrong.

How to Use Either, Neither, Or, and Nor Correctly

neither nor

My mother seems to appreciate having a grammar lover in the family. For Christmas one year, she bought me the book I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar. (By the way, it is equally correct to say “bad grammar.”) Last week, my mother emailed to ask if she was using the word “nor” correctly, which brings me to today’s post: the use of either, neither, and the connecting words that go with them.

How Are You? Good vs. Well

Good vs Well

When someone asks you, “How are you?” how should you respond? Should you say, “I’m good,” or, “I’m well?” Which is correct grammatically: good or well.

Since “how are you?” became a standard greeting, the use of good vs. well has been hotly disputed. Let’s straighten this confusion out.

What Do You Think About Grammar?

What Do You Think About Grammar

Grammar is one of those funny things that everyone needs to know but that not everyone agrees on.

Is It Okay To End A Sentence With A Preposition?

What is a preposition?

Occasionally, we grammar enthusiasts need to take a step back and lighten up a little bit. While there are some grammar rules that are hard and fast (I’m looking at you, comma splice), sometimes there is wiggle room. One of those wiggly rules is the assumption that sentences shouldn’t end in prepositions. Well, guess what? I’m here to liberate your pens and tell you that it’s okay for your protagonist to ask her cheating boyfriend who he was just with.

Quick review: What is a preposition? These puppies explain it pretty well.

Grammar Quandary: Affect Versus Effect

Affect Vs. Effect

We previously explored then and than, and now we’re diving into another pair of words that trip up many a blogger. Prepare to venture into the conflict between affect and effect.

The primary rule of thumb when it comes to affect and effect is the following:

Affect is a verb.

Effect is a noun.

Knowing this will generally get you through most confusion between these two words. Effect is occasionally used as a verb, as a synonym for “to cause/bring about.” However, it’s not as commonly used as the noun form and is still not interchangeable with “affect.”

I.E. vs. E.G.: How to Keep Them Straight

I.E. vs. E.G

We all have our pet peeves when it comes to writing. Maybe you hate the Oxford comma. Maybe you loathe the misuse of the ellipsis. As an editor, I’m supposed to have a lot of writing pet peeves, but one of my biggest is the interchanging of e.g. and i.e. I’m here to tell you once and for all that the two are not the same.

What the Heck is an Em Dash?

— What the Heck is an Em Dash —

And now, another punctuation term that you probably have never heard before: the em dash.

Truthfully, I was ignorant of the em dash until Joe first approached me about a punctuation post.

So I did what any educated American would do and went straight to Wikipedia. Here’s what I learned.